Pregnancy is such a wonderful time in life and we all know how important it is to eat well especially during this time. But what does eating well when you’re pregnant actually look like?

I know when Snezana was pregnant all she craved was cereal, and with these kind of cravings and the majority of our focus being on the foods we should avoid, it was very easy to overlook the foods that we should be eating and are extremely beneficial during pregnancy. I’ll be honest, we were pretty relaxed with this during our first pregnancy, but we always tried to ensure she was getting most of the following key food groups and nutrients.

Below is a list of key nutrients you should be getting during pregnancy and how you can get them.

Fibre.

Why?
Anyone who has been pregnant before knows how important fibre is for keeping bowel movements regular and healthy. Fibre is key in trying to avoid the constipation that often comes with pregnancy.

How can you get it?
Your best fibre-packed sources are whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds. Stick to fruits and veggies that are especially fibre rich and go for strawberries or raspberries with muesli and yoghurt for a fibre packed snack.

Calcium

Why?
An essential nutrient to help the development of your baby’s bones and teeth especially during the third trimester. It’s also incredibly important nutrient for the mum-to-be as pregnancy can cause you to lose nutrients from your bones.

How can you get it?
Dairy is one of the best sources of calcium, so pasteurised yoghurt, milk and hard cheeses should be your go-to. Calcium isn’t just limited to dairy though, other non-dairy calcium options are tahini, sardines, almonds and parsley.

Vitamin C

Why?
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient during pregnancy as it allows the body to produce collagen. Collagen is the foundation of healthy bones, blood vessels, skin and cartilage. Vitamin C’s power also extends to helping the body fight off infection.

How can you get it?
Vitamin C can be found in in fresh fruit and veggies (remember to wash your vegetables thoroughly) especially raw spinach, broccoli, red capsicum and berries.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Why?
Omega 3 fatty acid is essential for the development of your baby’s blood vessels and brain. It’s also an important factor in for decreasing your baby’s likelihood of developing food allergies.

How can you get it?
Go for oily fish and eggs 9always ensuring your eggs are cooked properly) to get the most Omega 3. Walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds are also a great source of Omega 3.

Zinc

Why?
Zinc is essential for supporting your own immune system during pregnancy while helping maintain senses of taste and smell. Zinc is also a must to help your baby’s immune system and cell growth for the production of DNA.

How can you get it?
Get your dose of zinc with lean red meat, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seafood (staying away from any raw fish or seafood of course).

Try to resist the temptation of sugar when you’re tired

It can be tempting to manage your fatigue by reaching for sugary but when you are responsible for making sure your little one gets the right balance of minerals and nutrients, it’s motivating to make better choices. Planning is really important. Recognise the times in the day when you feel your energy flagging (2.30pm anyone?) and have some healthy pregnancy-safe snacks on hand.

Our nutritionist Steph, has developed a huge range of pregnancy safe snacks, that will help to balance your energy levels throughout the day. Be warned, they’re so yummy you’ll need to keep them out of reach from your partner or they’ll disappear!

Our faves are:

  • Gingerbread chews: especially great if you are feeling a little queasy with morning sickness!
  • Choc chickpea biscuits: these have plenty of fibre to keep you ‘regular’.
  • Lemon protein balls: great for taking to work or eating after training.
  • Alex’s Vegan Snickers Slice: just don’t eat them all at once!

When it comes to eating well during pregnancy, it’s important to remember my 28 philosophy: progress not perfection.

Just do your best, you don’t have to be perfect!

Don’t overwhelm yourself with attempting to squeeze all of the above nutrients into everything you eat, this will become totally exhausting, and make sure you enjoy this wonderful time in your life.

Sam xx

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change. Sam Wood has over 18 years experience in the health and fitness industry, and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators. He is also the founder and trainer at Australia’s number one online fitness and nutrition program, and owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed.